Why Pontius Pilate in the creeds?


#1

I was saying the apostle’s creed this morning the the words Pontius Pilate got my attention. They are in both the nicene and the apostle’s creeds. The creeds are so amazingly concise and economical in their use of words, and I’m sure each word was greatly debated. Why was it important that Pilot was named. It could have easily have just said “He was crucified” without adding “under Pontius Pilot”. Any thoughts or do I just have too much time on my hands :slight_smile:


#2

to place the events of the crucifixion in their historical context and to make sure the blame got placed where it belongs, on the ruling Roman government.


#3

I think it was also more of proclaiming that the crucifixion is indeed a historical event. There are some modern sceptics who doubt this, as well as Islam.


#4

[quote=puzzleannie]to place the events of the crucifixion in their historical context and to make sure the blame got placed where it belongs, on the ruling Roman government.
[/quote]

I do not think it was to place blame, as just as much blame goes to the Jewish leaders.

After all Pilot did try to set Jesus free but the crowd called for Barabbas.


#5

I think Its important to understand the creeds as answers to heresy

The Apostle’s Creed was an answer to Gnosticism which thought that flesh was evil. It denied the humanity of Christ. The creed emphasizes this humanity without opposing his divinity. Pilot as an historical character I believe helps support this humanity
The Nicene Creed was an answer to the Arianism of the fourth century which denied Christ’s divinity. Again the divinity is emphasized but not at the exspense of his humamity. So the pilot reference was maintained.
I can’t say the Creeds without thinking about those great people that wanted to make these points so clearly.


#6

Reminds me of a short little novel I read when I was in 7th Grade, called “The Wife of Pilate” (by Gertrud Le Fort?). It expands on her dream. Probably out of print by now, but I never forgot it.


#7

[quote=gerryran]I was saying the apostle’s creed this morning the the words Pontius Pilate got my attention. They are in both the nicene and the apostle’s creeds. The creeds are so amazingly concise and economical in their use of words, and I’m sure each word was greatly debated. Why was it important that Pilot was named. It could have easily have just said “He was crucified” without adding “under Pontius Pilot”. Any thoughts or do I just have too much time on my hands :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Gerry,

Dorothy Sayers, in her introduction to her play cycle Man Born To Be King, notes that there have been many gods who supposedly walked the earth, and of those who supposedly died and rose from the dead there have been more than a few, but Christ is the only one who did it at a specific time in history and in a specific location. Pontius Pilate’s name was chosen, I think, because the creed writers had access to the Roman archives and his name fixed the date to within a few years. Other people involved, like Caiaphas, were more obscure.

  • Liberian

#8

Fr Winslow in his CSS explained that it “is as if Pontius Pilate lays before all of history the choice: the sinful son (Barabbas) or the Eternal Son (Jesus) - whom do you chose? …so we must choose.” He goes on to say “All of us, in some way, have chosen the sinful son. With each act of sin we have personally committed this sinful choice, over and above Our Lord, has been chosen.”


closed #9

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